The Life Unwired with Ben Combee (unwiredben) wrote,
The Life Unwired with Ben Combee

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Decluttering and Rearranging

It's amazing how much cruft builds up in a house in a few years. I moved into my townhome in Summer 1999, renting it from my friend Charles for a year before buying it from him. Up until a few weeks ago, I still had boxes from the move that hadn't been opened and unpacked. I've now started the process, bit by bit, of going through what I've got and figuring out what stays, what gets given away, what gets recycled, and what's just trash.

I started in earnest a couple of weekends ago with the help of my friend lizardprincess. We got my extended collection of Analog and Asimov's magazines into proper storage, cleaned off my dining room table, and went through several boxes of random stuff that I'd originally assembled during the move from Barton Skyway. That was a really useful bit of progress, and it's inspired me to a few more nights of cleaning up. I did some major reorganization of my old equipment in my guest room a few days ago, and last night I finally cleared off my desk and rearranged the computers there. In the process, I was able to make my work area more pleasant, vacuum up lots of dust bunnies, and find a few documents that I'd been needing to file away.

As part of this, I even made space on my desk for my old Atari 130XE computer and a couple of disk drives. When I realized that I could plug it into the Dell LCD panel using the composite video input, I knew it needed to find a spot in my life again. It soon will be hooked up to my laptop using a homemade "SIO2PC" cable that lets my PC act like a giant Atari disk drive. I've got myself a couple of CD's full of old Atari games and programs, and I can't wait to dig in and see what still in fun 20 years later.

Today, I finally got my upstairs networked to my downstairs. Ever since I got the LCD projection set, I've been wanting something to plug into its VGA port, so I finally got out to the Apple Store at Barton Creek Mall and picked up a Mac Mini. It's connected to my 802.11g wireless network and is already happily serving video and music files from my upstairs Windows boxes. It does a great job with MAME on emulating old arcade games and I'm finding that iTunes visualizations look quite nice when blown up to 52". My only major problem, so far, is that Quicktime 7 doesn't play nicely with the Ogg Vorbis plugin, which means I can't play back my ripped-from-CD music. It looks like this is a bug that will be addressed soon, and I've got lots of tracks DLed from eMusic that are in MP3 format that are handled nicely, not to mention piles of podcasts.

There's a lot more work to do. The guest room is still a disaster, I've got baskets of clothes to organize in my bedroom, and there are at least two more futon cushions taking up closet space than actual futons in this house. However, I've got the feeling that I can beat the clutter back a bit and have a much more pleasant living space.
Tags: technology, useful tip
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